Penlee and Sennen Cove RNLI lifeboats launch to fishing vessel on fire
Penlee and Sennen Cove RNLI volunteers saved two local fishermen yesterday (Tuesday 16 July) after their fishing vessel caught fire off Lands End.
The request came in to Penlee RNLI at around 3.30pm from Falmouth Coastguard. The volunteers were already aware that the fishermen had abandoned the vessel and were in a life raft, so they made their way at full speed to the scene of the incident. Sennen Cove RNLI volunteers were launched shortly after and also proceeded to the scene.
On arrival at around 4pm, the Penlee RNLI volunteers located the two casualties in the life raft. They transferred them onto the lifeboat and carried out initial assessments. Fortunately both were uninjured from their ordeal, so the Penlee lifeboat made its way back to Newlyn to take the casualties back to their relieved families.
The lifeboat was re-fuelled and returned to the scene to assist Sennen Cove RNLI in standing off the casualty vessel to ensure other boats kept clear as there was a risk of explosion.
The fishing vessel sunk later that evening. Sennen Cove RNLI was stood down just after 7pm, with Penlee RNLI volunteers staying on scene for an extra hour before returning to station at 8.30pm.
The shout was the first for Tom Ritchie in his new voluntary role as deputy mechanic for Penlee RNLI. He said: ‘This shout could well have had a very different ending had it not been for the quick thinking of the vessel’s skipper, and the numerous people who reported the incident to the HM Coastguard via the 999 system.
‘A quick evacuation of the two crew from their burning vessel into a liferaft, the correct lifesaving equipment onboard, and the very prompt response of the volunteer crew at Penlee, led to a successful outcome with no loss of life.’
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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.